You may not have heard, but there was an eclipse of the sun today…

…and this was the scene from Salford Quays in Manchester – taken from the car park at the rear of the Ramada Hotel.  

The General Election televised Leaders Debates fiasco

Late last night, the Prime Minister’s director of communications, Craig Oliver, delivered what appears to be a devastating blow to the broadcasters’ plans for a series of leaders debates I’m the run up to the General Election. In his letter, the PM’s spin doctor says…

The legality of invoicing a child for not turning up to a birthday party

A Twitter conversation between a BBC and ITV hack over the threat of court action for non-payment of a birthday party no-show invoice caught my attention. BBC Newsnight’s Jess Brammar wrote “PM [that’s Radio Four’s PM programme, not the Prime Minister] have just trailed a BBC legal…

Church of England considers moving the north-south divide

The precise location of the north-south divide has been difficult to pinpoint with any clarity. Manchester is in the north, of course; unless you’re in the Highlands, in which case it is very much in the south. The midpoint of the longest north-south axis in…

A journalist with a police caution for domestic violence describes Ched Evans opponents as “morons”

Writing in the week’s Spectator (cover date 10 January 2015, but online now), the columnist Rod Liddle describes opponents of Ched Evans as “morons”. He starts his column with an attack on pseudonymous campaigner Jean Hatchet, saying that her name is “almost certainly too good to…

Some free advice to hospitals declaring A&E Major Incident status

You do sometimes wonder who is running our NHS hospitals. An increasing number of hospitals are declaring Major Incidents in their Accident and Emergency departments saying that their staff can’t cope with the unprecedented demand. Amongst them is my local A&E department at the County…

There ain’t nothing like a dame for tomorrow’s gay knights

It is custom and tradition that the wives of knights are called ladies. It is an honorary title: if your husband is a Sir, then you can be called a lady. And if your husband has a peerage – whether or not it is a…

A puppy and a bikini brings global fame to singer

Kendra Moriah is a singer. I can’t tell you whether or not she’s a good singer because I’ve not heard any of her songs. She’s probably fantastic and this post is not intended to denigrate her in any way. The only negative thing that I…

Screaming black eyed child ghost terror

“Screaming black eyed child ghost terror” screams the front page of today’s Daily Star with a story of a ghostly apparition on Cannock Chase – the Staffordshire beauty spot that is, literally, on my doorstep. I don’t give such stories much credence. It’s up there…

When is a journalist a “commercial observer”?

The Conservatives are in town – that’s if your town is Birmingham. They are relatively frequent visitors to the Midlands and a few years ago, with a confirmed commission, I applied for media accreditation to cover the conference. My application was denied. The reason that was…